A look at everything that happened on the final day of play between Surrey and Leicestershire at The Kia Oval in the LV= County Championship.
Hassan Azad led the way with a career-best 144 not out as Leicestershire batted throughout the final day at the Kia Oval to earn a hard-fought and well-deserved draw against Surrey.
Resuming on 21 without loss, after Ollie Pope’s superb third day 245 had spearheaded Surrey’s drive to a 297-run first innings lead, Leicestershire held firm to finish on 295 for 3 when fists were bumped at 5.10pm with 21 overs unbowled.
Lewis Hill also batted with notable composure, adding 69 not out in an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 152 with Azad to his first innings 70 and it was a frustrating day on a flat pitch for Surrey, who had to be content to take 15 points to Leicestershire’s 13.
It was a final day, however, not without incident. Surrey captain Rory Burns was unhappy when umpires Graham Lloyd and Paul Pollard chose to change the ball in the 35th over, with Leicestershire on 89 for 2 and soon after they had lost Sam Evans and Harry Dearden to successive balls from Jordan Clark.
The match was held up for five minutes or so as Burns, and other Surrey players, remonstrated with the officials. No penalty runs were added to the total, and the ball may have been damaged on the boundary boards.
Earlier, there had been another five-minute interruption when Evans, on 10, ducked into a short ball from Kemar Roach at the start of the day’s sixth over that clanged into his batting helmet and meant the 23-year old opener needed to pass concussion protocols before continuing.
Evans, scorer of 138 in Leicestershire’s first innings, then dealt stoically with a further barrage of short stuff from Roach but on 22, after resisting for 32 overs, he finally fell to the rising ball when fending Clark to short leg. That was Clark’s first legitimate ball of the morning, having begun with a no ball, and the big all-rounder promptly took another wicket with his next delivery, angling one into Dearden’s pads from around the wicket to pin the left-hander leg-before for a first ball duck.
Colin Ackermann confidently drove the hat-trick ball wide of mid on for two and the Leicestershire captain went on to 29 before being brilliantly caught by keeper Ben Foakes trying to clip off spinner Amar Virdi behind square.
Left-hander Azad, 27, has a well-organised method and batted in all for more than six hours, facing 280 balls and hitting 19 fours. Excellent off his pads, both behind and in front of square, he also twice hit Virdi through cover off the back foot and there was also a lovely extra cover driven four off Matt Dunn.
Surrey XI: Burns, Stoneman, Amla, Pope, Foakes, Smith, Clark, Overton, Roach, Dunn, Virdi
Leicestershire XI: Azad, Evans, Dearden, Ackermann, Hill, Swindells, Mike, Parkinson, Wright, Griffiths, Klein
ELSEWHERE IN GROUP 2
Every Surrey home match will be available to view either on kiaoval.com or Sky Sports this season.
The best way to get your seat at The Kia Oval when restrictions allow is with a 2021 Membership, starting from £69 for adults and £20 for U16s.